MADISON, Wis. - For many years rental properties have remained one of the few industries to rarely be targeted for scams. Madison Police Department officials say that has now changed.
They say someone has been targeting college students renting properties in Madison. It involves someone putting letters under the doors of rental properties informing the tenant of a new online rent system.
To encourage the tenant to sign up for the new program the letter offers a $215 credit off of the next month's rent. The letter asks the tenant to email them their name, date of birth and Social Security number. They also ask the tenant to include a credit card number, and the card's security code and expiration date.
Bruce Bosben is the chairman and founder of the Apex Group. He has been renting properties in Madison for nearly 30 years and said renters should never send their personal information to a new email address that claims to be the landlord. He said his company would never ask for that kind of information because they already obtained it to complete the rental agreement.
He said anyone receiving a letter like this should contact their landlord, but do so using a phone number or email address that they previously used to contact their landlord.
Bosben said that while the property rental industry has been relatively free of scams he is not surprised by this one.
"It doesn't surprise me. If there's a way for people to weasel into the middle of something then someone is going to figure out how to do it," Bosben said.
MPD officials said one person has already fallen victim to this scam and they fear others may be out there.
In order to steal the money and identity of renters the individuals involved in this scam stole the identity of an area business. The letter to renters identified H&H Apartments in Middleton as the new recipient of rent payments.
Police have determined H&H Apartments is a legitimate company and has nothing to do with this scam. The name of their company was simply used by the individuals attempting to scam the renters.
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